With the weather heating up, it’s the perfect time of year to lace up your shoes and treat yourself to one of New England’s great road races. Okay, sure - we all know what the big race is in New England, the one on Patriot’s day every year that ends on Boylston street. But just because you haven’t run a speedy qualifying time for Boston or don’t want to go full marathon distance, doesn’t mean that you’re out of luck. In fact, it just might be the perfect season to explore some of New England’s less-well-known, but still spectacular road races, many of which will still earn you some serious credibility in running circles. And even if you aren’t going to break the tape you’re sure to have a heck of a good time. Without further ado, the following races are worth an add to your calendar.
Mount Washington Road Race
Pinkham Notch, NH
June 18, 2016
Okay, if you haven’t registered for the Mount Washington Road Race by the time you read this, then you’re probably not running it, seeing as it’s taking place this weekend. Still, if you missed it this year, you may want to put it on your calendar for 2017. If you dare, that is. This course is one of the toughest you’ll find, a 7.6 mile climb up to the summit of Mt. Washington, climbing more than 4,500 feet with grades that average of 12%. In short, this isn’t for the faint of heart (or cardio fitness). But what a race it is. If you make it, not only do you end at the top of New England’s most famous peak, you’ll also be treated to a little something that’s near and dear to hearts: a breathtaking view that includes our namesake, Tuckerman’s ravine.
Beach to Beacon
Cape Elizabeth, ME
August 6, 2016
This dramatic 10k is the baby of Joan Benoit Samuelson, a native of Cape Elizabeth and the winner of the first women’s Marathon in the 1984 Olympics. As one of the trailblazers in women’s distance running Joan Benoit wanted to create a race tied to her home training ground. And what a training ground it is: starting at Crescent Beach State Park in Cape Elizabeth the route winds along ocean vistas before ending at Portland Head Light, the nation’s first commissioned lighthouse. If being on the coast of Maine in August isn’t reason enough for a trip, this gorgeous race should seal the deal.
Bridge of Flowers 10k Classic
Shelburne Falls, MA
August 13, 2016
Don’t let allergies deter you from the Bridge of Flowers 10k Classic. This event, which is just a stone’s throw from where the members of Team Tuckerman grew up, is suitable for novice runners and seasoned athletes alike. Early on in the race, you’ll run through the course’s namesake - a unique garden that connects both sides of the beautiful Deerfield River. However, it’s not just a run in the park - or, rather, garden. Shortly after the bridge, you’ll face a gentle climb over Crittenden Hill and continue on through a classically beautiful New England hill town. After the race, you can also take a breather at the famous “pot holes” a geologic marvel of glacial carved stone that’s a favorite local hangout. (Photo credit: Geoff Bluh)
Falmouth Road Race
August 21, 2016
The Falmouth road race may be the second-most famous race in New England after Boston, with a legacy that goes back almost 45 years. It’s early racers were into running before it became a “thing” and included luminaries such as Marathon champ Frank Shorter and “Boston Billy Rodgers” as well as characters like Tommy Leonard, a running-aficionado who also worked at The Brothers Four, one of the few runners’ bars in existence. The course itself is reason enough to go - winding along some of the Cape’s most beautiful scenery - but you’ll also earn a few bonus points for pounding the same road as running culture’s earliest movers and shakers.
New Haven Road Race
New Haven, CT
September 5, 2016
Okay, we’re admittedly a little biased on this one. Biased, since this race runs right past Tuckerman headquarters every Labor Day weekend, but you can’t exactly write it off as a neighborhood fun run. For one it’s the site of the USATF 20k championship every year, which means that there are some serious racers in the mix, as well as a handful of former Olympians and Champions who are typically on hand. The race itself is fast and flat, looping through some of Yale’s most gorgeous architecture, out past the neighborhood of East Rock before looping back and finishing downtown. Runners have the option of a half-marathon, 20k, or 5k races, and should have plenty of spectators on hand to cheer them on. Heck, if you’re there this year, let us know and team Tuckerman will come cheer you on ourselves!
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